Public service integration in Kazakhstan: the case of one stop shop
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This thesis is an analysis of the public service integration, a New Public Management initiative, in a transitional context such as Kazakhstan. This thesis focuses on three main perspectives – the impact of the service integration policy on those who was involved in the implementation process; the problematic aspects of service integration in a transitional context; and the use of “organisational learning” and “communities of practice” in analysing service integration. By combining New Public Management theory (in particular, the ideas on decentralising management and customer-orientation), service integration theory and organisational learning theories, and rich empirical data, this thesis found that public service integration was implemented in the Kazakhstani context to a limited extent. Through the use of triangulation of methods which incorporated case study, interviews, participant observation, virtual ethnography and documentary analysis, this thesis captured complex, non-linear and diverse power dimensions and relationships between the new single-window centres, traditional service providers and customers. The development of the “communities of practice” among the front-line personnel was analysed within service integration policy context. Promoting service integration is seen as beneficial for both service providers and customers in Kazakhstan, but there are both conceptual and practical challenges. Although significant progress in public service improvement was achieved and noted in the research, this thesis found that the One Stop Shops inherited relations-based, patronage system and corruption from the traditional bureaucracy. It found that the new technologies, while improving access to the public services, were used to extend centralised control across the regions. This thesis also found that organisational learning did take place, however, in the underdeveloped form of adaptive learning, with the lack of critical reflection on the existing ways of working. This thesis concluded that the institutional framework and culture prevailing in the Kazakhstani traditional bureaucracy constrained implementation of the service integration policy to a full extent.